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The numbers are staggering. For over 50 years, the tars sands industry in Alberta has been producing a toxic brew of water, sand, silt and petrochemical waste products and storing them in what the industry refers to as “tailings ponds”. And, the volumes are only growing – surpassing 1 TRILLION litres, covering an area greater than Toronto and Vancouver combined!
Every day 25 million new litres of tailings are added to the ever growing toxic tailings ponds. These tailings ponds leach toxic chemicals, like lead, mercury, arsenic and benzene – putting local and downstream communities at risk. First Nations living in Fort Chipewyan, 200 km downstream from the oil sands development sites, have experienced higher than normal rates of cancer as a result.
We cannot stand idly by and do nothing.
We are working hard to ensure that regulations are implemented that are stringent, binding and effective. And, that they reduce the volume of tailings, guarantee existing tailings ponds are treated at a faster rate than they are produced and make oil sands companies bear full financial responsibility for the cleanup (now estimated at over $45 billion and growing).
With my sincere gratitude,
National Program Manager
P.S. We just released our report on Alberta’s tailings ponds – you can read it and check out the live trackings of tailings ponds volume and clean up liability here.
Environmental Defence Canada – 116 Spadina Avenue, Suite 300, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2K6
Featured image- blogs.nelson.wisc.edu/es112albertasaskatchewan301/water/